Lallana earned a first senior England call yesterday.
Benali told the Daily Mail: "The first time I set eyes on Adam, I knew he would be a top player. He has thrived in every division he has played in for Southampton and now he has hit the ground running in the Premier League.
"People will say he is only 5ft 9ins, but you only have to look at Barcelona to realise if you're good enough, you're big enough.
"I was part of the same year group as Matt Le Tissier in the Saints academy and I see a lot of Matt in Adam. That's the biggest compliments I can pay him."